Part 6 out of 12
early that is to be abroad! I never get out of bed until eight. Is
there any use in rising so early?' The Duchess of Kent, who was
present, took up the answer: 'My daughter may be called to fill the
throne of England when she shall be grown up; therefore, it is
especially necessary that she should learn the full value of time.' You
see, Caroline, the princess was not allowed to waste her mornings in
bed, although she was destined to be the first lady in the land. We may
be thankful to her admirable mother for making her in that, as in many
other things, a pattern to us."
"Is it a true anecdote, Miss Channing?"
"It was related to my mother, many years ago, by a lady who was, at
that time, very much at Kensington Palace. I think there is little
doubt of its truth. One fact we all know, Caroline: the Queen retains
her early habits, and implants them in her children. What do you
suppose would be her Majesty's surprise, were one of her
daughters--say, the Princess Helena, or the Princess Louise--to decline
to rise early for their morning studies with their governess, Miss
Hildyard, on the plea that it was not 'lady-like'?"
Caroline's objection appeared to be melting away under her. "But it is
a dreadful plague," she grumbled, "to be obliged to get up from one's
nice warm bed, for the sake of some horrid old lessons!"
"You spoke of 'the poor'--those who 'have their living to earn'--as the
only class who need rise early," resumed Constance. "Put that notion
away from you at once and for ever, Caroline; there cannot be a more
false one. The higher we go in the scale of life, the more onerous
become our duties in this world, and the greater is our responsibility
to God. He to whom five talents were intrusted, did not make them other
five by wasting his days in idleness. Oh, Caroline!--Fanny, come closer
and listen to me--your time and opportunities for good must be
_used_--not abused or wasted."
"I _will_ try and get up," said Caroline, repentantly. "I wish mamma
had trained me to it when I was a child, as the Duchess of Kent trained
the princess! I might have learned to like it by this time."
"Long before this," said Constance. "Do you remember the good old
saying, 'Do what you ought, that you may do what you like'? Habit is
second nature. Were I told that I might lie in bed every morning until
nine or ten o'clock, as a great favour, I should consider it a great
"But I have not been trained to get up, Miss Channing; and it is
nothing short of punishment to me to do so."
"The punishment of self-denial we all have to bear, Caroline. But I can
tell you what will take away half its sting."
"What?" asked Caroline, eagerly.
Constance bent towards her. "Jesus Christ said, 'If any will come after
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.'
When once we learn HOW to take it up cheerfully, bravely, for His sake,
looking to Him to be helped, the sting is gone. 'No cross, no crown,'
you know, my children."
"No cross, no crown!" Constance had sufficient cross to carry just
then. In the course of the morning Lady Augusta came into the room
boisterously, her manner indicative of great surprise.
"Miss Channing, what _is_ this tale, about your brother's having been
arrested for stealing that missing bank-note? Some visitors have just
called in upon me, and they say the town is ringing with the news."
It was one of the first of Constance Channing's bitter pills; they were
to be her portion for many a day. Her heart fluttered, her cheek
varied, and her answer to Lady Augusta Yorke was low and timid.
"It is true that he was arrested yesterday on suspicion."
"What a shocking thing! Is he in prison?"
"Did he take the note?"
The question pained Constance worse than all. "He did not take it," she
replied, in a clear, soft tone. "To those who know Arthur well, it
would be impossible to think so."
"But he was before the magistrates yesterday, I hear, and is going up
"Yes, that is so."
"And Roland could not open his lips to tell me of this when I came home
last night!" grumbled my lady. "We were late, and he was the only one
up; Gerald and Tod were in bed. I shall ask him why he did not. But,
Miss Channing, this must be a dreadful blow for you all?"
"It would be far worse, Lady Augusta, if we believed him guilty," she
replied from her aching heart.
"Oh, dear! I hope he is not guilty!" continued my lady, displaying as
little delicacy of feeling as she could well do. "It would be quite a
dangerous thing, you know, for my Roland to be in the same office."
"Be at ease, Lady Augusta," returned Constance, with a tinge of irony
she could not wholly suppress. "Your son will incur no harm from the
companionship of Arthur."
"What does Hamish say?--handsome Hamish! He does not deserve that such
a blow should come to him."
Constance felt her colour deepen. She bent her face over the exercise
she was correcting.
"Is he likely to be cleared of the charge?" perseveringly resumed Lady
"Not by actual proof, I fear," answered Constance, pressing her hand
upon her brow as she remembered that he could only be proved innocent
by another's being proved guilty. "The note seems to have been lost in
so very mysterious a manner, that positive proof of his innocence will
"Well, it is a dreadful thing!" concluded Lady Augusta.
Meanwhile, at the very moment her ladyship was speaking, the
magistrates were in the town-hall in full conclave--the case before
them. The news had spread--had excited interest far and wide; the bench
was crowded, and the court was one dense sea of heads.
Arthur appeared, escorted by his brother Hamish and by Roland Yorke.
Roland was in high feather, throwing his haughty glances everywhere,
for he had an inkling of what was to be the termination of the affair,
and did not conceal his triumph. Mr. Galloway also was of their party.
Mr. Galloway was the first witness put forth by Mr. Butterby. The
latter gentleman was in high feather also, believing he saw his way
clear to a triumphant conviction. Mr. Galloway was questioned; and for
some minutes it all went on swimmingly.
"On the afternoon of the loss, before you closed your letter, who were
in your office?"
"My clerks--Roland Yorke and Arthur Channing."
"They saw the letter, I believe?"
"And the bank-note?"
"It was the prisoner, Arthur Channing, who fetched the bank-note from
your private room to the other? Did he see you put it into the letter?"
"I cannot say."
A halt. "But he was in full possession of his eyes just then?"
"No doubt he was."
"Then what should hinder his seeing you put the note into the letter?"
"I will not swear that I put the note into the letter."
The magistrates pricked up their ears. Mr. Butterby pricked up his, and
looked at the witness.
"What do you say?"
"I will not swear that I put the bank-note inside the letter,"
deliberately repeated Mr. Galloway.
"Not swear that you put the bank-note into the letter? What is it that
"The meaning is plain enough," replied Mr. Galloway, calmly. "Must I
repeat it for the third time? I will not swear that I put the note into
"But your instructions to me were that you did put the note into the
letter," cried Mr. Butterby, interrupting the examination.
"I will not swear it," reiterated the witness.
"Then there's an end of the case!" exclaimed the magistrates' clerk, in
some choler. "What on earth was the time of the bench taken up for in
bringing it here?"
And there _was_ an end of the case--at any rate for the present--for
nothing more satisfactory could be got out of Mr. Galloway.
"I have been checkmated," ejaculated the angry Butterby.
They walked back arm-in-arm to Mr. Galloway's, Roland and Arthur.
Hamish went the other way, to his own office, and Mr. Galloway lingered
somewhere behind. Jenkins--truehearted Jenkins, in the black
handkerchief still--was doubly respectful to Arthur, and rose to
welcome him; a faint hectic of pleasure illumining his face at the
termination of the charge.
"Who said our office was going to be put down for a thief's!" uttered
Roland. "Old Galloway's a trump! Here's your place, Arthur."
Arthur did not take it. He had seen from the window the approach of Mr.
Galloway, and delicacy prevented his assuming his old post until bade
to do so. Mr. Galloway came in, and motioned him into his own room.
"Arthur Channing," he said, "I have acted leniently in this unpleasant
matter, for your father's sake; but, from my very heart, I believe you
to be guilty."
"I thank you, sir," Arthur said, "for that and all other kindness. I am
not as guilty as you think me. Do you wish me to leave?"
"If you can give me no better assurance of your innocence--if you can
give me no explanation of the peculiar and most unsatisfactory manner
in which you have met the charge--yes. To retain you here would be
unjust to my own interests, and unfair as regards Jenkins and Roland
To give this explanation was impossible; neither dared Arthur assert
more emphatically his innocence. Once convince Mr. Galloway that he was
not the guilty party, and that gentleman would forthwith issue fresh
instructions to Butterby for the further investigation of the affair:
of this Arthur felt convinced. He could only be silent and remain under
"Then--I had better--you would wish me, perhaps--to go at once?"
"Yes," shortly replied Mr. Galloway.
He spoke a word of farewell, which Mr. Galloway replied to by a nod,
and went into the front office. There he began to collect together
certain trifles that belonged to him.
"What's that for?" asked Roland Yorke.
"I am going," he replied.
"Going!" roared Roland, jumping to his feet, and dashing down his pen
full of ink, with little regard to the deed he was copying. "Galloway
has never turned you off!"
"Yes, he has."
"Then I'll go too!" thundered Roland, who, truth to say, had flown into
an uncontrollable passion, startling Jenkins and arousing Mr. Galloway.
"I'll not stop in a place where that sort of injustice goes on! He'll
be turning me out next! Catch me stopping for it!"
"Are you taken crazy, Mr. Roland Yorke?"
The question proceeded from his master, who came forth to make it.
Roland turned to him, his temper unsubdued, and his colour rising.
"Channing never took the money, sir! It is not just to turn him away."
"Did you help him to take it, pray, that you identify yourself with the
affair so persistently and violently?" demanded Mr. Galloway, in a
cynical tone. And Roland answered with a hot and haughty word.
"If you cannot attend to your business a little better, you will get
your dismissal from me; you won't require to dismiss yourself," said
Mr. Galloway. "Sit down, sir, and go on with your work."
"And that's all the thanks a fellow gets for taking up a cause of
oppression!" muttered Mr. Roland Yorke, as he sullenly resumed his
place at the desk. "This is a precious world to live in!"
A PIECE OF PREFERMENT.
Before the nine days' wonder, which, you know, is said to be the
accompaniment of all marvels, had died away, Helstonleigh was fated to
be astonished by another piece of news of a different nature--the
preferment of the Reverend William Yorke.
A different preferment from what had been anticipated for him;
otherwise the news had been nothing extraordinary, for it is usual for
the Dean and Chapter to provide livings for their minor canons. In a
fine, open part of the town was a cluster of buildings, called
Hazeldon's Charity, so named from its founder Sir Thomas Hazeldon--a
large, paved inclosure, fenced in by iron railings, and a pair of iron
gates. A chapel stood in the midst. On either side, right and left, ran
sixteen almshouses, and at the end, opposite to the iron gates, stood
the dwelling of the chaplain to the charity, a fine residence, called
Hazeldon House. This preferment, worth three hundred a year, had been
for some weeks vacant, the chaplain having died. It was in the gift of
the present baronet, Sir Frederick Hazeldon, a descendant of the
founder, and he now suddenly conferred it upon the Rev. William Yorke.
It took Helstonleigh by surprise. It took Mr. Yorke himself entirely by
surprise. He possessed no interest whatever with Sir Frederick, and had
never cast a thought to the probability of its becoming his. Perhaps,
Sir Frederick's motive for bestowing it upon him was this--that, of all
the clergy in the neighbourhood, looking out for something good to fall
to them, Mr. Yorke had been almost the only one who had not solicited
it of Sir Frederick.
It was none the less welcome. It would not interfere in the least with
the duties or preferment of his minor canonry: a minor canon had once
before held it. In short, it was one of those slices of luck which do
sometimes come unexpectedly in this world.
In the soft light of the summer evening, Constance Channing stood under
the cedar-tree. A fine old tree was that, the pride of the Channings'
garden. The sun was setting in all its beauty; clouds of crimson and
purple floated on the horizon; a roseate hue tinged the atmosphere, and
lighted with its own loveliness the sweet face of Constance. It was an
evening that seemed to speak peace to the soul--so would it have spoken
to that of Constance, but for the ever-present trouble which had fallen
Another trouble was falling upon her, or seemed to be; one that more
immediately concerned herself. Since the disgrace had come to Arthur,
Mr. Yorke had been less frequent in his visits. Some days had now
elapsed from the time of Arthur's dismissal from Mr. Galloway's, and
Mr. Yorke had called only once. This might have arisen from accidental
circumstances; but Constance felt a different fear in her heart.
Hark! that is his ring at the hall-bell. Constance has not listened
for, and loved that ring so long, to be mistaken now. Another minute,
and she hears those footsteps approaching, warming her life-blood,
quickening her pulses: her face deepens to crimson, as she turns it
towards him. She knows nothing yet of his appointment to the Hazeldon
chaplaincy; Mr. Yorke has not known it himself two hours.
He came up and laid his hands upon her shoulders playfully, looking
down at her. "What will you give me for some news, by way of greeting,
"News?" she answered, raising her eyes to his, and scarcely knowing
what she did say, in the confusion of meeting him, in her all-conscious
love. "Is it good or bad news?"
"Helstonleigh will not call it good, I expect. There are those upon
whom it will fall as a thunder-clap."
"Tell it me, William; I cannot guess," she said, somewhat wearily. "I
suppose it does not concern me."
"But it does concern you--indirectly."
Poor Constance, timorous and full of dread since this grief had fallen,
was too apt to connect everything with that one source. We have done
the same in our lives, all of us, when under the consciousness of some
secret terror. She appeared to be living upon a mine, which might
explode any hour and bring down Hamish in its _debris_. The words bore
an ominous sound; and, foolish as it may appear to us, who know the
nature of Mr. Yorke's news, Constance fell into something very like
terror, and turned white.
"Does--does--it concern Arthur?" she uttered.
"No. Constance," changing his tone, and dropping his hands as he gazed
at her, "why should you be so terrified for Arthur? You have been a
changed girl since that happened--shrinking, timid, starting at every
sound, unable to look people in the face. Why so, if he is innocent?"
She shivered inwardly, as was perceptible to the eyes of Mr. Yorke.
"Tell me the news," she answered in a low tone, "if, as you say, it
concerns me." "I hope it will concern you, Constance. At any rate, it
concerns me. The news," he gravely added, "is, that I am appointed to
the Hazeldon chaplaincy."
"Oh, William!" The sudden revulsion of feeling from intense, undefined
terror to joyful surprise, was too much to bear calmly. Her emotion
overpowered her, and she burst into tears. Mr. Yorke compelled her to
sit down on the bench, and stood over her--his arm on her shoulder, her
hand clasped in his.
"Constance, what is the cause of this?" he asked, when her emotion had
She avoided the question. She dried her tears and schooled her face to
smiles, and tried to look as unconscious as she might. "Is it really
true that you have the chaplaincy?" she questioned.
"I received my appointment this evening. Why Sir Frederick should have
conferred it upon me I am unable to say: I feel all the more obliged to
him for its being unexpected. Shall you like the house, Constance?"
The rosy hue stole over her face again, and a happy smile parted her
lips. "I once said to mamma, when we had been spending the evening
there, that I should like to live at Hazeldon House. I like its rooms
and its situation; I shall like to be busy among all those poor old
people, but, when I said it, William, I had not the slightest idea that
the chance would ever be mine."
"You have only to determine now how soon the 'chance' shall become
certainty," he said. "I must take up my residence there within a month,
and I do not care how soon my wife takes up hers after that."
The rose grew deeper. She bent her brow down upon her hand and his,
hiding her face. "It could not possibly be, William."
"What could not be?"
"So soon. Papa and mamma are going to Germany, you know, and I must
keep house here. Besides, what would Lady Augusta say at my leaving her
situation almost as soon as I have entered upon it?"
"Lady Augusta--" Mr. Yorke was beginning impulsively, but checked
himself. Constance lifted her face and looked at him. His brow was
knit, and a stern expression had settled on it.
"What is it, William?"
"I want to know what caused your grief just now," was his abrupt
rejoinder. "And what is it that has made you appear so strange of
The words fell on her as an ice-bolt. For a few brief moments she had
forgotten her fears, had revelled in the sunshine of the happiness so
suddenly laid out before her. Back came the gloom, the humiliation, the
"Had Arthur been guilty of the charge laid to him, and you were
cognizant of it, I could fancy that your manner would be precisely what
it is," answered Mr. Yorke.
Her heart beat wildly. He spoke in a reserved, haughty tone, and she
felt a foreboding that some unpleasant explanation was at hand. She
felt more--that perhaps she ought not to become his wife with this
cloud hanging over them. She nerved herself to say what she deemed she
ought to say.
"William," she began, "perhaps you would wish that our marriage should
be delayed until--until--I mean, now that this suspicion has fallen
She could scarcely utter the words coherently, so great was her
agitation. Mr. Yorke saw how white and trembling were her lips.
"I cannot believe Arthur guilty," was his reply.
She remembered that Hamish was, though Arthur was not; and in point of
disgrace, it amounted to the same thing. Constance passed her hand over
her perplexed brow. "He is looked upon as guilty by many: that, we
unfortunately know; and it may not be thought well that you should,
under the circumstance, make me your wife. _You_ may not think so."
Mr. Yorke made no reply. He may have been deliberating the question.
"Let us put it in this light, William," she resumed, her tone one of
intense pain. "Suppose, for argument's sake, that Arthur were guilty;
would you marry me, all the same?"
"It is a hard question, Constance," he said, after a pause.
"It must be answered."
"Were Arthur guilty and you cognizant of it--screening him--I should
lose half my confidence in you, Constance."
That was the knell. Her heart and her eyes alike fell, and she knew, in
that one moment, that all hope of marrying William Yorke was at an end.
"You think that, were he guilty--I am speaking only for argument's
sake," she breathed in her emotion,--"you think, were I cognizant of
it, I ought to betray him; to make it known to the world?"
"I do not say that, Constance. No. But you are my affianced wife; and,
whatever cognizance of the matter you might possess, whatever might be
the mystery attending it--and a mystery I believe there is--you should
repose the confidence and the mystery in me."
"That you might decide whether or not I am worthy to be your wife!" she
exclaimed, a flash of indignation lighting up her spirit. To doubt her!
She felt it keenly, Oh, that she could have told him the truth! But
this she dare not, for Hamish's sake.
He took her hand in his, and gazed searchingly into her face.
"Constance, you know what you are to me. This unhappy business has been
as great a trial to me as to you. Can you deny to me all knowledge of
its mystery, its guilt? I ask not whether Arthur be innocent or guilty;
I ask whether you are innocent of everything in the way of concealment.
Can you stand before me and assure me, in all truth, that you are so?"
She could not. "I believe in Arthur's innocence," she replied, in a low
So did Mr. Yorke, or he might not have rejoined as he did. "I believe
also in his innocence," he said. "Otherwise--"
"You would not make me your wife. Speak it without hesitation,
"Well--I cannot tell what my course would be. Perhaps, I would not."
A silence. Constance was feeling the avowal in all its bitter
humiliation. It seemed to humiliate _her_. "No, no; it would not be
right of him to make me his wife now," she reflected. "Hamish's
disgrace may come out any day; he may still be brought to trial for it.
His wife's brother! and he attached to the cathedral. No, it would
never do. William," she said, aloud, "we must part."
"Part?" echoed Mr. Yorke, as the words issued faintly from her
Tears rose to her eyes; it was with difficulty she kept them from
falling. "I cannot become your wife while this cloud overhangs Arthur.
It would not be right."
"You say you believe in his innocence," was the reply of Mr. Yorke.
"I do. But the world does not. William," she continued, placing her
hand in his, while the tears rained freely down her face, "let us say
He drew her closer to him. "Explain this mystery, Constance. Why are
you not open with me? What has come between us?"
"I cannot explain," she sobbed. "There is nothing for us but to part."
"We will not part. Why should we, when you say Arthur is innocent, and
I believe him to be so? Constance, my darling, what is this grief?"
What were the words but a tacit admission that, if Arthur were not
innocent, they should part? Constance so interpreted them. Had any
additional weight been needed to strengthen her resolution, this would
have supplied it.
"Farewell! farewell, William! To remain with you is only prolonging the
pain of parting."
That her resolution to part was firm, he saw. It was his turn to be
angry now. A slight touch of the haughty Yorke temper was in him, and
there were times when it peeped out. He folded his arms, and the flush
left his countenance.
"I cannot understand you, Constance. I cannot fathom your motive, or
why you are doing this; unless it be that you never cared for me."
"I have cared for you as I never cared for any one; as I shall never
care for another. To part with you will be like parting with life."
"Then why speak of it? Be my wife, Constance; be my wife!"
"No, it might bring you disgrace," she hysterically answered; "and,
that, you shall never encounter through me. Do not keep me, William; my
resolution is irrevocable."
Sobbing as though her heart would break, she turned from him. Mr. Yorke
followed her indoors. In the hall stood Mrs. Channing. Constance turned
aside, anywhere, to hide her face from her mother's eye. Mrs. Channing
did not particularly observe her, and turned to accost Mr. Yorke. An
angry frown was on his brow, an angry weight on his spirit. Constance's
words and course of action had now fully impressed him with the belief
that Arthur was guilty; that she knew him to be so; and the proud Yorke
blood within him whispered that it was _well_ so to part. But he had
loved her with a deep and enduring love, and his heart ached bitterly.
"Will you come in and lend us your help in the discussion?" Mrs.
Channing said to him, with a smile. "We are carving out the plan for
He bowed, and followed her into the sitting-room. He did not speak of
what had just occurred, leaving that to Constance, if she should choose
to give an explanation. It was not Mr. Yorke's place to say, "Constance
has given me up. She has impressed me with the conviction that Arthur
is guilty, and she says she will not bring disgrace upon me." No,
certainly; he could not tell them that.
Mr. Channing lay as usual on his sofa, Hamish near him. Gay Hamish, who
was looking as light-faced as ever; undoubtedly, he seemed as
light-hearted. Hamish had a book before him, a map, and a pencil. He
was tracing out the route for his father and mother, joking always.
After much anxious consideration, Mr. Channing had determined to
proceed at once to Germany. It is true that he could not well afford to
do so; and, before he heard from Dr. Lamb the very insignificant cost
it would prove, he had always put it from him, as wholly impracticable
at present. But the information given him by the doctor altered his
views, and he began to think it not only practicable, but feasible. His
children were giving much help now to meet home expenses--Constance, in
going to Lady Augusta's; Arthur, to the Cathedral. Dr. Lamb strongly
urged his going, and Mr. Channing himself knew that, if he could only
come home restored to health and to activity, the journey instead of
being an expense, would, in point of fact, prove an economy. With much
deliberation, with much prayer to be helped to a right decision, Mr.
Channing at length decided to go.
It was necessary to start at once, for the season was already advanced;
indeed, as Dr. Lamb observed, he ought to have been away a month ago.
Then all became bustle and preparation. Two or three days were wasted
in the unhappy business concerning Arthur. But all the grieving over
that, all the staying at home for it, could do no good; Mr. Channing
was fain to see this, and the preparations were hastened. Hamish was
most active in all--in urging the departure, in helping to pack, in
carving out their route: but always joking.
"Now, mind, mother, as you are to be commander in chief, it is the
_Antwerp_ packet you are to take," he was saying, in a serio-comic,
dictatorial manner. "Don't get seduced on to any indiscriminate
steamer, or you may find yourselves carried off to some unknown regions
inhabited by cannibals, and never be heard of again. The Antwerp
steamer; and it starts from St. Katherine's Docks--if you have the
pleasure of knowing that enchanting part of London. I made acquaintance
with it in a fog, in that sight-seeing visit I paid to town; and its
beauty, I must confess, did not impress me. From St. Katherine's Docks
you will reach Antwerp in about eighteen hours--always provided the
ship does not go to pieces."
"Well, I won't anticipate: I dare say it is well caulked. At any rate,
take an insurance ticket against accident, and then you'll be all
right. An Irishman slept at the top of a very high hotel. 'Are you not
afraid to sleep up there, in case of fire?' a friend asked him. 'By the
powers, no!' said he; 'they tell me the house is insured.' Now, mother
"Shall we have to stay in Antwerp, Hamish?" interrupted Mr. Channing.
"Yes, as you return, sir; an answer that you will think emanated from
our Irish friend. No one ever yet went to Antwerp without giving the
fine old town a few hours' inspection. I only wish the chance were
offered me! Now, on your way there, you will not be able to get about;
but, as you return, you will--if all the good has been done you that I
"Do not be too sanguine, Hamish."
"My dear father," and Hamish's tone assumed a deeper feeling, "to be
sanguine was implanted in my nature, at my birth: but in this case I am
more than sanguine. You will be cured, depend upon it. When you return,
in three months' time, I shall not have a fly waiting for you at the
station here, or if I do, it will be for the mother's exclusive use and
benefit; I shall parade you through the town on my arm, showing your
renewed strength of leg and limb to the delighted eyes of
"Why are you so silent?" Mrs. Channing inquired of William Yorke. She
had suddenly noticed that he had scarcely said a word; had sat in a fit
of abstraction since his entrance.
"Silent? Oh! Hamish is talking for all of us," he answered, starting
from his reverie.
"The ingratitude of some people!" ejaculated Hamish. "Is he saying that
in a spirit of complaint, now? Mr. Yorke, I am astonished at you."
At this moment Tom was heard to enter the house. That it could be no
one but Tom was certain, by the noise and commotion that arose; the
others were quieter, except Annabel, and she was a girl. Tom came in,
tongue, hands, and feet all going together.
"What luck, is it not, Mr. Yorke? I am so glad it has been given to
Mr. Channing looked up in surprise. "Tom, you will never learn manners!
What has been given?"
"Has he not told you?" exclaimed Tom, ignoring the reproof to his
manners. "He is appointed to Hazeldon Chapel. Where's Constance? I'll
be bound he has told _her_!"
Saucy Tom! They received his news in silence, looking to Mr. Yorke for
explanation. He rose from his chair, and his cheek slightly flushed as
he confirmed the tidings.
"Does Constance know it?" inquired Mrs. Channing, speaking in the
"Yes," was Mr. Yorke's short answer. And then he said something, not
very coherently, about having an engagement, and took his leave,
wishing Mr. Channing every benefit from his journey.
"But, we do not go until the day after to-morrow," objected Mr.
Channing. "We shall see you before that."
Another unsatisfactory sentence from Mr. Yorke, that he "was not sure."
In shaking hands with Mrs. Channing he bent down with a whisper: "I
think Constance has something to say to you."
Mrs. Channing found her in her room, in a sad state of distress.
"Child! what is this?" she uttered.
"Oh! mother, mother, it is all at an end, and we have parted for ever!"
was poor Constance's wailing answer. And Mrs. Channing, feeling quite
sick with the various troubles that seemed to be coming upon her,
inquired _why_ it was at an end.
"He feels that the disgrace which has fallen upon us would be reflected
upon him, were he to make me his wife. Mother, there is no help for it:
it _would_ disgrace him."
"But where there is no real guilt there can be no real disgrace,"
objected Mrs. Channing. "I am firmly persuaded, however mysterious and
unsatisfactory things may appear, that Arthur is not guilty, and that
time will prove him so."
Constance could only shiver and sob. Knowing what she knew, she could
entertain no hope.
"Poor child! poor child!" murmured Mrs. Channing, her own tears
dropping upon the fair young face, as she gathered it to her sheltering
bosom. "What have you done that this blight should extend to you?"
"Teach me to bear it, mother. It must be God's will." And Constance
Channing lay in her resting-place, and there sobbed out her heart's
grief, as she had done in her early girlhood.
AN APPEAL TO THE DEAN.
The first sharpness of the edge worn off, Arthur Channing partially
recovered his cheerfulness. The French have a proverb, which is
familiar to us all: "_Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute_." There is
a great deal of truth in it, as experience teaches us, and as Arthur
found. "Of what use my dependence upon God," Arthur also reasoned with
himself ten times a day, "if it does not serve to bear me up in this,
my first trouble? As well have been brought up next door to a heathen.
Let me do the best I can under it, and go my way as if it had not
happened, trusting all to God."
A good resolution, and one that none could have made, and kept, unless
he had learnt that trust, which is the surest beacon-light we can
possess in the world. Hour after hour, day after day, did that trust
grow in Arthur Channing's heart. He felt a sure conviction that God
would bring his innocence to light in His own good time: and that time
he was content to wait for. Not at the expense of Hamish. In his
brotherly love for Hamish, which this transaction had been unable to
dispel, he would have shielded his reputation at any sacrifice to
himself. He had grown to excuse Hamish, far more than he could ever
have excused himself, had he been guilty of it. He constantly hoped
that the sin might never be brought home to Hamish, even by the
remotest suspicion. He hoped that he would never fall again. Hamish was
now so kind to Arthur--gentle in manner, thoughtfully considerate,
anxious to spare him. He had taken to profess his full belief in
Arthur's innocence; not as loudly perhaps, but quite as urgently, as
did Roland Yorke. "He would _prove_ my innocence, and take the guilt to
himself, but that it would bring ruin to my father," fondly
Arthur Channing's most earnest desire, for the present, was to obtain
some employment. His weekly salary at Mr. Galloway's had been very
trifling; but still it was so much loss. He had gone to Mr. Galloway's
not so much to be of help to that gentleman, who really did not require
a third clerk, as to get his hand into the routine of the office,
preparatory to being articled. Hence his weekly pay had been almost a
nominal sum. Small though it was, he was anxious to replace it; and he
sought to hear of something in the town. As yet, without success.
Persons were not willing to engage one on whom a doubt rested; and a
very great doubt, in the opinion of the town, did rest upon Arthur. The
manner in which the case had terminated--by Mr. Galloway's refusing to
swear he put the bank-note into the envelope, when it was known that
Mr. Galloway _had_ put it in, and that Mr. Galloway himself knew that
he had done so--told more against Arthur than the actual charge had
done. It was not, you see, establishing Arthur's innocence; on the
contrary, it rather tended to imply his guilt. "If I go on with this,
he will be convicted, therefore I will withdraw it for his father's
sake," was the motive the town imputed to Mr. Galloway. His summary
dismissal, also, from the office, was urged against him. Altogether,
Arthur did not stand well with Helstonleigh; and fresh employment did
not readily show itself. This was of little moment, comparatively
speaking, while his post in the Cathedral was not endangered. But that
was to come.
On the day before the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Channing, Arthur was
seated at the organ at afternoon service, playing the anthem, when Mr.
Williams came up. Arthur saw him with surprise. It was not the day for
practising the choristers; therefore, what could he want? A feeling of
dread that it might mean ill to him, came over Arthur.
A feeling all too surely borne out. "Channing," Mr. Williams began,
scarcely giving himself time to wait until service was over and the
congregation were leaving, "the dean has been talking to me about this
bother. What is to be done?"
The life-blood at his heart seemed to stand still, and then go on
again. His place there was about to be taken from him; he knew it. Must
he become an idle, useless burden upon them at home?
"He met me this morning in High Street, and stopped me," continued Mr.
Williams. "He considers that if you were guilty of the theft, you ought
not to be allowed to retain your place here. I told him you were not
guilty--that I felt thoroughly convinced of it; but he listened coldly.
The dean is a stern man, and I have always said it."
"He is a good man, and only stern in the cause of injustice," replied
Arthur, who was himself too just to allow blame to rest where it was
not due, even though it were to defend himself. "Did he give orders for
"He has not done so yet. I said, that when a man was wrongly accused,
it ought not to be a plea for all the world's trampling him down. He
answered pretty warmly, that of course it ought not; but that, if
appearances might be trusted, you were not wrongly accused."
Arthur sat, scoring some music with his pencil. Never had he felt that
appearances were against him more plainly than he felt it then.
"I thought I would step down and tell you this, Channing," Mr. Williams
observed. "I shall not dismiss you, you may be sure of that; but, if
the dean puts forth his veto, I cannot help myself. He is master of the
Cathedral, not I. I cannot think what possesses the people to doubt
you! They never would, if they had ten grains of sense."
The organist concluded his words as he hurried down the stairs--he was
always much pressed for time. Arthur, a cold weight lying at his heart,
put the music together, and departed.
He traversed the nave, crossed the body, and descended the steps to the
cloisters. As he was passing the Chapter House, the doors opened, and
Dr. Gardner came out, in his surplice and trencher. He closed the doors
after him, but not before Arthur had seen the dean seated alone at the
table--a large folio before him. Both of them had just left the
Arthur raised his hat to the canon, who acknowledged it, but--Arthur
thought--very coldly. To a sore mind, fancy is ever active. A thought
flashed over Arthur that he would go, there and then, and speak to the
Acting upon the moment's impulse, without premeditation as to what he
should say, he turned back and laid his hand upon the door handle. A
passing tremor, as to the result, arose within him; but he had learned
where help in need is ever to be obtained, and an earnestly breathed
word went up then. The dean looked round, saw that it was Arthur
Channing, rose from his seat, and awaited his approach.
"Will you pardon my intruding upon you here, Mr. Dean?" he began, in
his gentle, courteous manner; and with the urgency of the occasion, all
his energy seemed to come to him. Timidity and tremor vanished, and he
stood before the dean, a true gentleman and a fearless one. The dean
still wore his surplice, and his trencher lay on the table near him.
Arthur placed his own hat by its side. "Mr. Williams has just informed
me that you cast a doubt as to the propriety of my still taking the
organ," he added.
"True," said the dean. "It is not fitting that one, upon whom so heavy
an imputation lies, should be allowed to continue his duty in this
"But, sir--if that imputation be a mistaken one?"
"How are we to know that it is a mistaken one?" demanded the dean.
Arthur paused. Sir, will you take my word for it? I am incapable of
telling a lie. I have come to you to defend my own cause; and yet I can
only do it by my bare word of assertion. You are not a stranger to the
circumstances of my family, Mr. Dean; and I honestly avow that if this
post is taken from me, it will be felt as a serious loss. I have lost
what little I had from Mr. Galloway; I trust I shall not lose this."
"You know, Channing, that I should be the last to do an unjust thing;
you also may be aware that I respect your family very much," was the
dean's reply. "But this crime which has been laid to your charge is a
heavy one. If you were guilty of it, it cannot be overlooked."
"I was not guilty of it," Arthur impressively said, his tone full of
emotion. "Mr. Dean! believe me. When I shall come to answer to my Maker
for my actions upon earth, I cannot then speak with more earnest truth
than I now speak to you. I am entirely innocent of the charge. I did
not touch the money; I did not know that the money was lost, until Mr.
Galloway announced it to me some days afterwards."
The dean gazed at Arthur as he stood before him; at his tall
form--noble even in its youthfulness--his fine, ingenuous countenance,
his earnest eye; it was impossible to associate such with the brand of
guilt, and the dean's suspicious doubts melted away. If ever
uprightness was depicted unmistakably in a human countenance, it shone
out then from Arthur Channing's.
"But there appears, then, to be some mystery attaching to the loss, to
the proceedings altogether," debated the dean.
"No doubt there may be; no doubt there is," was the reply of Arthur.
"Sir," he impulsively added, "will you stand my friend, so far as to
grant me a favour?"
The dean wondered what was coming.
"Although I have thus asserted my innocence to you; and it is the
solemn truth; there are reasons why I do not wish to speak out so
unequivocally to others. Will you kindly regard this interview as a
confidential one--not speaking of its purport even to Mr. Galloway?"
"But why?" asked the dean.
"I cannot explain. I can only throw myself upon your kindness, Mr.
Dean, to grant the request. Indeed," he added, his face flushing, "my
motive is an urgent one."
"The interview was not of my seeking, so you may have your favour,"
said the dean, kindly. "But I cannot see why you should not publicly
assert it, if, as you say, you are innocent."
"Indeed, I am innocent," repeated Arthur. "Should one ray of light ever
be thrown upon the affair, you will see, Mr. Dean, that I have spoken
"I will accept it as truth," said the dean. "You may continue to take
"I knew God would be with me in the interview!" thought Arthur, as he
thanked the dean and left the Chapter House.
He did not go home immediately. He had a commission to execute in the
town, and went to do it. It took him about an hour, which brought it to
five o'clock. In returning through the Boundaries he encountered Roland
Yorke, just released from that bane of his life, the office, for the
day. Arthur told him how near he had been to losing the Cathedral.
"By Jove!" uttered Roland, flying into one of his indignant fits. "A
nice dean he is! He'd deserve to lose his own place, if he had done
"Well, the danger is over for the present. I say, Yorke, does Galloway
talk much about it?"
"Not he," answered Roland. "He's as sullen and crabbed as any old bear.
I often say to Jenkins that he is in a temper with himself for having
sent you away, and I don't care if he hears me. There's an awful amount
to do since you went. I and Jenkins are worked to death. And there'll
be the busiest time of all the year coming on soon, with the autumn
rents and leases. I shan't stop long in it, I know!"
Smiling at Roland's account of being "worked to death," for he knew how
much the assertion was worth, Arthur continued his way. Roland
continued his, and, on entering his own house, met Constance Channing
leaving it. He exchanged a few words of chatter with her, though it
struck him that she looked unusually sad, and then found his way to the
presence of his mother.
"What an uncommonly pretty girl that Constance Channing is!" quoth he,
in his free, unceremonious fashion. "I wonder she condescends to come
here to teach the girls!"
"I think I shall dismiss her, Roland," said Lady Augusta.
"I expect she'll dismiss herself, ma'am, without waiting for you to do
it, now William Yorke has found bread and cheese, and a house to live
in," returned Roland, throwing himself at full length on a sofa.
"Then you expect wrong," answered Lady Augusta. "If Miss Channing
leaves, it will be by my dismissal. And I am not sure but I shall do
it," she added, nodding her head.
"What for?" asked Roland, lazily.
"It is not pleasant to retain, as instructress to my children, one
whose brother is a thief."
Roland tumbled off the sofa, and rose up with a great cry--a cry of
passionate anger, of aroused indignation. "What?" he thundered.
"Good gracious! are you going mad?" uttered my lady. "What is Arthur
Channing to you, that you should take up his cause in this startling
way upon every possible occasion?"
"He is this to me--that he has nobody else to stand up for him,"
stuttered Roland, so excited as to impede his utterance. "We were both
in the same office, and the shameful charge might have been cast upon
me, as it was cast upon him. It was mere chance. Channing is as
innocent of it as you, mother; he is as innocent as that precious dean,
who has been wondering whether he shall dismiss him from the Cathedral.
A charitable lot you all are!"
"I'm sure I don't want to be uncharitable," cried Lady Augusta, whose
heart was kind enough in the main. "And I am sure the dean never was
uncharitable in his life: he is too good and enlightened a man to be
uncharitable. Half the town says he must be guilty, and what is one to
think? Then you would not recommend me to let it make any difference to
Miss Channing's coming here?"
"No!" burst forth Roland, in a tone that might have brought down the
roof, had it been made of glass. "I'd scorn such wicked injustice."
"If I were you, I'd 'scorn' to put myself into these fiery tempers,
upon other people's business," cried my lady.
"It is my business," retorted Roland. "Better go into tempers than be
hard and unjust. What would William Yorke say at your speaking so of
Lady Augusta smiled. "It was hearing what William Yorke had done that
almost decided me. He has broken off his engagement with Miss Channing.
And he has done well, Roland. It is not meet that he should take his
wife from a disgraced family. I have been telling him so ever since it
Roland stood before her, as if unable to digest the news: his mouth
open, his eyes staring. "It is not true!" he shrieked.
"Indeed, it is perfectly true. I gathered a suspicion of it from
William Yorke's manner to-day, and I put the question plainly to Miss
Channing herself. 'Had they parted in consequence of this business of
Arthur's?' She acknowledged that it was so."
Roland turned white with honest anger. He dashed his hair from his
brow, and with an ugly word, he dashed down the stairs four at a time,
and flung out of the house; probably with the intention of having a
little personal explosion with the Reverend William Yorke.
A TASTE OF "TAN."
The cloisters of Helstonleigh were echoing with the sounds of a loud
dispute, according as little with their sacred character, as with the
fair beauty of the summer's afternoon.
The excitement caused in the college school by the rumour of Lady
Augusta Yorke's having obtained the promise of the head-master that her
son should be promoted to the seniorship over the heads of Channing and
Huntley, had been smouldering ominously, and gathering greater strength
from the very fact that the boys appeared to be powerless in it.
Powerless they were: in spite of Tom Channing's boast at the
dinner-table that the school would not stand it tamely, and his meaning
nod when Hamish had mockingly inquired whether the school intended to
send Lady Augusta a challenge, or to recommend Mr. Pye to the
surveillance of the dean.
In the first flow of their indignation, the boys, freely ringing the
changes of rebellion, had avowed to one another that they would
acquaint the dean with the head-master's favouritism, and request his
interference--as too many of us do when things happen that annoy us. We
are only too prone to speak out our mind, and to proclaim what our
remedy or revenge shall be. But when our anger has subsided, and we see
things in their true light, we find that those boasts were only loud
talking, and cannot be acted upon. Thus it was with the Helstonleigh
college boys. They had hurled forth indignation at the master, had
pretty nearly conned over the very words in which they should make
known their grievance to the dean; but when the practical part came to
be considered, their courage oozed out at their fingers' ends. The
mice, you remember, passed a resolution in solemn conclave that their
enemy, the old cat, should be belled: an excellent precaution, and only
wanting one small thing to render it efficient--no mouse would
undertake to do it.
To prefer a complaint to the dean of their head-master was a daring
measure; such as the school, with all its hardihood, had never yet
attempted. It might recoil upon themselves; might produce no good to
the question at issue, and only end in making the master their enemy.
On the other hand, the boys were resolved not to submit tamely to a
piece of favouritism so unjust, without doing something. In the midst
of this perplexity, one of them suddenly mooted the suggestion that a
written memorial should be sent to the head-master from the school
collectively, respectfully requesting him to allow the choice of senior
to be made in the legitimate order of things, by merit or priority, but
not by favour.
Lame as the suggestion was, the majority were for its adoption simply
because no other plan could be hit upon. Some were against it. Hot
arguments prevailed on both sides, and a few personal compliments
rather tending to break the peace, had been exchanged. The senior boy
held himself aloof from acting personally: it was his place they were
fighting for. Tom Channing and Huntley were red-hot against what they
called the "sneaking," meaning the underhand work. Gerald Yorke was
equally for non-interference, either to the master or the dean. Yorke
protested it was not in the least true that Lady Augusta had been
promised anything of the sort. In point of fact, there was no proof
that she had been, excepting her own assertion, made in the hearing of
Jenkins. Gerald gravely declared that Jenkins had gone to sleep and
Affairs had been going on in a cross-grained sort of manner all day.
The school, taking it as a whole, had been inattentive; Mr. Pye had
been severe; the second master had caned a whole desk, and threatened
another, and double lessons had been set the upper boys for the
following morning. Altogether, when the gentlemen were released at five
o'clock, they were not in the sweetest of tempers, and entered upon a
wordy war in the cloisters.
"What possessed you to take and tear up that paper you were
surreptitiously scribbling at, when Pye ordered you to go up and hand
it in?" demanded Gaunt, of George Brittle. "It was that which put him
out with us all. Was it a love-letter?"
"Who was to think he'd go and ask for it?" returned Brittle, an
indifferent sort of gentleman, who liked to take things easily. "Guess
what it was."
"Don't talk to me about guessing!" imperiously spoke Gaunt. "I ask you
what it was?"
"Nothing less than the memorial to himself," laughed Brittle. "Some of
us made a rough shell of it, and I thought I'd set on and copy it fair.
When old Pye's voice came thundering, 'What's that you are so
stealthily busy over, Mr. Brittle?--hand it in,' of course I could only
tear it into minute pieces, and pretend to be deaf."
"You had best not try it on again," said Gaunt. "Nothing puts out Pye
like disobeying him to his face."
"Oh, doesn't it, though!" returned Brittle. "Cribs put him out the
worst. He thought that was a crib, or he'd not have been so eager for
"What sort of a shell is it?" asked Harry Huntley. "Who drew it out?"
"It won't do at all," interposed Hurst. "The head of it is, 'Revered
master,' and the tail, 'Yours affectionately.'"
A shout of laughter; Brittle's voice rose above the noise. "And the
middle is an eloquent piece of composition, calculated to take the
master's obdurate heart by storm, and move it to redress our wrongs."
"We have no wrongs to redress of that sort," cried Gerald Yorke.
"Being an interested party, you ought to keep your mouth shut," called
out Hurst to Yorke.
"Keep yours shut first," retorted Yorke to Hurst. "Not being
interested, there's no need to open yours at all."
"Let's see the thing," said Huntley.
Brittle drew from his pocket a sheet of a copy-book, tumbled, blotted,
scribbled over with the elegance that only a schoolboy can display.
Several heads had been laid together, and a sketch of the memorial
drawn out between them. Shorn of what Hurst had figuratively called the
head and tail, and which had been added for nonsense, it was not a bad
production. The boys clustered round Brittle, looking over his
shoulder, as he read the composition aloud for the benefit of those who
could not elbow space to see.
"It wouldn't be bad," said Huntley, critically, "if it were done into
"Into what?" roared Brittle. "The grammar's as good as you can produce
any day, Huntley. Come!"
"I'll correct it for you," said Huntley, coolly. "There are a dozen
faults in it."
"The arrogance of those upper-desk fellows!" ejaculated Brittle. "The
stops are not put in yet, and they haven't the gumption to allow for
them. You'll see what it is when it shall be written out properly,
Huntley. It might be sent to the British Museum as a model of good
English, there to be framed and glazed. I'll do it to-night."
"It's no business of yours, Mr. Brittle, that you should interfere to
take an active part in it," resumed Gerald Yorke.
"No business of mine! That's good! When I'm thinking of going in for
the seniorship myself another time!"
"It's the business of the whole batch of us, if you come to that!"
roared Bywater, trying to accomplish the difficult feat of standing on
his head on the open mullioned window-frame, thereby running the danger
of coming to grief amongst the gravestones and grass of the College
burial-yard. "If Pye does not get called to order now, he may lapse
into the habit of passing over hard-working fellows with brains, to
exalt some good-for-nothing cake with none, because he happens to have
a Dutchman for his mother. That _would_ wash, that would!"
"You, Bywater! do you mean that for me?" hotly demanded Gerald Yorke.
"As if I did!" laughed Bywater. "As if I meant it for any cake in
particular! Unless the cap happens to fit 'em. _I_ don't say it does."
"The thing is this," struck in Hurst: "who will sign the paper? It's of
no use for Brittle, or any other fellow, to be at the bother of writing
it out, if nobody can be got to sign it."
"What do you mean? The school's ready to sign it."
"Are the seniors?"
With the seniors there was a hitch. Gaunt put himself practically out
of the affair; Gerald Yorke would not sign it; and Channing could not.
Huntley alone remained.
Why could not Channing sign it? Ah, there was the lever that was
swaying and agitating the whole school this afternoon. Poor Tom
Channing was not just now reposing upon rose-leaves. What with his
fiery temper and his pride, Tom had enough to do to keep himself within
bounds; for the school was resenting upon him the stigma that had
fallen upon Arthur. Not the whole school; but quite sufficient of it.
Not that they openly attacked Tom; he could have repaid that in kind;
but they were sending him to Coventry. Some said they would not sign a
petition to the master headed by Tom Channing:--Tom, you remember,
stood on the rolls next to Gaunt. They said that if Tom Channing were
to succeed as senior of the school, the school would rise up in open
rebellion. That this feeling against him was very much fostered by the
Yorkes, was doubted. Gerald was actuated by a twofold motive, one of
which was, that it enhanced his own chance of the seniorship. The other
arose from resentment against Arthur Channing, for having brought
disgrace upon the office which contained his brother Roland. Tod
fraternized in this matter with Gerald, though the same could not be
said of him in general; no two brothers in the school agreed less well
than did the Yorkes. Both of them fully believed Arthur to be guilty.
"As good have the thing out now, and settle it," exclaimed Griffin, who
came next to Gerald Yorke, and would be fourth senior when Gaunt should
leave. "Are you fellows going to sign it, or not?"
"To whom do you speak?" demanded Gaunt.
"Well, I speak to all," said Griffin, a good-humoured lad, but terribly
mischievous, and, for some cause best known to himself, warmly
espousing the cause of Gerald Yorke. "Shall you sign it, Gaunt?"
"No. But I don't say that I disapprove of it, mind you," added Gaunt.
"Were I going in for the seniorship, and one below me were suddenly
hoisted above my head and made cock of the walk, I'd know the reason
why. It is not talking that would satisfy me, or grumbling either; I'd
"Gaunt doesn't sign it," proceeded Griffin, telling off the names upon
his fingers. "That's one. Huntley, do you?"
"I don't come next to Gaunt," was Huntley's answer. "I'll speak in my
Tom Channing stood near to Huntley, his trencher stuck aside on his
head, his honest face glowing. One arm was full of books, the other
rested on his hip: his whole attitude bespoke self-possession; his
looks, defiance. Griffin went on.
"Gerald Yorke, do you sign it?"
"I'd see it further, first."
"That's two disposed of, Gaunt and Yorke," pursued Griffin. "Huntley,
there's only you."
Huntley gave a petulant stamp. "I have told you I will not speak out of
my turn. Yes, I will speak, though, as we want the affair set at rest,"
he resumed, changing his mind abruptly. "If Channing signs it, I will.
There! Channing, will you sign it?"
"Yes, I will," said Tom.
Then it was that the hubbub arose, converting the cloisters into an
arena. One word led to another. Fiery blood bubbled up; harsh things
were said. Gerald Yorke and his party reproached Tom Channing with
being a _disgrace_ to the school's charter, through his brother Arthur.
Huntley and a few more warmly espoused Tom's cause, of whom saucy
Bywater was one, who roared out cutting sarcasms from his gymnasium on
the window-frame. Tom controlled himself better than might have been
expected, but he and Gerald Yorke flung passionate retorts one to the
"It is not fair to cast in a fellow's teeth the shortcomings of his
relations," continued Bywater. "What with our uncles and cousins, and
mothers and grandmothers, there's sure to be one among them that goes
off the square. Look at that rich lot, next door to Lady Augusta's,
with their carriages and servants, and soirees, and all the rest of
their grandeur!--their uncle was hanged for sheep-stealing."
"I'd rather steal a sheep and be hanged for it, than help myself to a
nasty bit of paltry money, and then deny that I did it!" foamed Gerald.
"The suspicion might have fallen on my brother, but that he happened,
by good luck, to be away that afternoon. My opinion is, that Arthur
Charming intended suspicion to fall upon him."
A howl from Bywater. He had gone over, head foremost, to make
acquaintance with the graves. They were too much engrossed to heed him.
"Your brother was a great deal more likely to have helped himself to
it, than Arthur Charming," raged Tom. "He does a hundred dirty things
every day, that a Channing would rather cut off his arm than attempt."
The disputants' faces were almost touching each other, and very fiery
faces they were--that is, speaking figuratively. Tom's certainly was
red enough, but Gerald's was white with passion. Some of the bigger
boys stood close to prevent blows, which Gaunt was forbidding.
"I _know_ he did it!" shrieked Gerald. "There!"
"You can't know it!" stamped Tom. "You don't know it!"
"I _do_. And for two pins I'd tell."
The boast was a vain boast, the heat of passion alone prompting it.
Gerald Yorke was not scrupulously particular in calm moments; but
little recked he what he said in his violent moods. Tom repudiated it
with scorn. But there was another upon whom the words fell with intense
And that was Charley Channing. Misled by Gerald's positive and earnest
tone, the boy really believed that there must be some foundation for
the assertion. A wild fear seized him, lest Gerald should proclaim
some startling fact, conveying a conviction of Arthur's guilt to the
minds of the school. The blood forsook his face, his lips trembled, and
he pushed his way through the throng till he touched Gerald.
"Don't say it, Gerald Yorke! Don't!" he imploringly whispered. "I have
kept counsel for you."
"What?" said Gerald, wheeling round.
"I have kept your counsel about the surplice. Keep Arthur's in return,
if you do know anything against him."
I wish you could have witnessed the change in Gerald Yorke's
countenance! A streak of scarlet crossed its pallor, his eyes blazed
forth defiance, and a tremor, as of fear, momentarily shook him. To the
surprise of the boys, who had no notion what might have been the
purport of Charley's whisper, he seized the boy by the arm, and
fiercely dragged him away up the cloisters, turning the corner into the
"Get down!" he hissed; "get down upon your knees, and swear that you'll
never breathe a syllable of that calumny again! Do you hear me, boy?"
"No, I will not get down," said brave Charley.
Gerald drew in his lips. "You have heard of a wild tiger, my boy? One
escaped from a caravan the other day, and killed a few people. I am
worse than a wild tiger now, and you had better not provoke me. Swear
it, or I'll kill you!"
"I will not swear," repeated the child. "I'll try and keep the promise
I gave you, not to betray about the surplice--I will indeed; but don't
you say again, please, that Arthur is guilty."
To talk of killing somebody, and to set about doing it, are two things.
Gerald Yorke's "killing" would have amounted to no more than a good
thrashing. He held the victim at arm's length, his eyes dilating, his
right hand raised, when a head was suddenly propelled close upon them
from the graveyard. Gerald was so startled as to drop his hold of
The head belonged to Stephen Bywater, who must have crept across the
burial-ground and chosen that spot to emerge from, attracted probably
by the noise. "What's the row?" asked he.
"I was about to give Miss Channing a taste of tan," replied Gerald, who
appeared to suddenly cool down from his passion. "He'd have got it
sweetly, had you not come up. I'll tan you too, Mr. Bywater, if you
come thrusting in yourself, like that, where you are not expected, and
"Tan away," coolly responded Bywater. "I can tan again. What had the
young one been up to?"
"Impudence," shortly answered Yorke. "Mark you, Miss Channing! I have
not done with you, though it is my pleasure to let you off for the
present. Halloa! What's that?"
It was a tremendous sound of yelling, as if some one amidst the throng
of boys was being "tanned" there. Gerald and Charley flew off towards
it, followed by Bywater, who propelled himself upwards through the
mullioned frame in the best way he could. The sufferer proved to be Tod
Yorke, who was writhing under the sharp correction of some tall fellow,
six feet high. To the surprise of Gerald, he recognized his brother
You may remember it was stated in the last chapter that Roland Yorke
flew off, in wild indignation, from Lady Augusta's news of the parting
of the Reverend Mr. Yorke and Constance Channing. Roland, in much
inward commotion, was striding through the cloisters on his way to find
that reverend divine, when he strode up to the throng of disputants,
who were far too much preoccupied with their own concerns to observe
him. The first distinct voice that struck upon Roland's ear above the
general hubbub, was that of his brother Tod.
When Gerald had rushed away with Charley Channing, it had struck Tod
that he could not do better than take up the dispute on his own score.
He forced himself through the crowd to where Gerald had stood in front
of Tom Channing, and began. For some little time the confusion was so
great he could not be heard, but Tod persevered; his manner was
overbearing, his voice loud.
"I say that Tom Channing might have the decency to take himself out of
the school. When our friends put us into it, they didn't expect we
should have to consort with thieves' brothers."
"You contemptible little reptile! How dare you presume to cast
aspersion at my brother?" scornfully uttered Tom. And the scorn was all
he threw at him; for the seniors disdained, whatever the provocation,
to attack personally those younger and less than themselves. Tod Yorke
"How dare I! Oh!" danced Tod. "I dare because I dare, and because it's
true. When my brother Gerald says he knows it was Arthur Channing
helped himself to the note, he does know it. Do you think," he added,
improving upon Gerald's suggestion, "that my brother Roland could be in
the same office, and not know that he helped himself to it? He--"
It was at this unlucky moment that Roland had come up. He heard the
words, dashed the intervening boys right and left, caught hold of Mr.
Tod by the collar of his jacket, and lifted him from the ground, as an
angry lion might lift a contemptible little animal that had enraged
him. Roland Yorke was not an inapt type of an angry lion just then,
with his panting breath, his blazing eye, and his working nostrils.
"Take that! and that! and that!" cried he, giving Tod a taste of his
strength. "_You_ speak against Arthur Channing!--take that! You false
little hound!--and that! Let me catch you at it again, and I won't
leave a whole bone in your body!"
Tod writhed; Tod howled; Tod shrieked; Tod roared for mercy. All in
vain. Roland continued his "and thats!" and Gerald and the other two
absentees came leaping up. Roland loosed him then, and turned his
flashing eyes upon Gerald.
"Is it true that you said you knew Arthur Channing took the bank-note?"
"What if I did?" retorted Gerald.
"Then you told a lie! A lie as false as you are. If you don't eat your
words, you are a disgrace to the name of Yorke. Boys, believe _me!_"
flashed Roland, turning to the wondering throng--"Gaunt, _you_ believe
me--Arthur Channing never did take the note. I know it. I know it, I
tell you! I don't care who it was took it, but it was not Arthur
Channing. If you listen again to his false assertions," pointing
scornfully to Gerald, "you'll show yourselves to be sneaking curs."
Roland stopped for want of breath. Bold Bywater, who was sure to find
his tongue before anybody else, elbowed his way to the inner circle,
and flourished about there, in complete disregard of the sad state of
dilapidation he was in behind; a large portion of a very necessary
article of attire having been, in some unaccountable manner, torn away
by his recent fall.
"That's right, Roland Yorke!" cried he. "I'd scorn the action of
bringing up a fellow's relations against him. Whether Arthur Channing
took the note, or whether he didn't, what has that to do with Tom?--or
with us? They are saying, some of them, that Tom Channing shan't sign a
petition to the master about the seniorship!"
"What petition?" uttered Roland, who had not calmed down a whit.
"Why! about Pye giving it to Gerald Yorke, over the others' heads,"
returned Bywater. "_You_ know Gerald's crowing over it, like anything,
but I say it's a shame. I heard him and Griffin say this morning that
there was only Huntley to get over, now Tom Channing was put out of it
through the bother about Arthur."
"What's the dean about, that he does not give Pye a word of a sort?"
"The dean! If we could only get to tell the dean, it might be all
right. But none of us dare do it."
"Thank you for your defence of Arthur," said Tom Channing to Roland
Yorke, as the latter was striding away.
Roland looked back. "I am ashamed for all the lot of you! You might
know that Arthur Channing needs no defence. He should not be aspersed
in my school, Gaunt, if I were senior."
What with one thing and another, Roland's temper had not been so
aroused for many a day. Gaunt ran after him, but Roland would not turn
his head, or speak.
"Your brothers are excited against Tom Channing, and that makes them
hard upon him, with regard to this accusation of Arthur," observed
Gaunt. "Tom has gone on above a bit, about Gerald's getting his
seniorship over him and Huntley. Tom Channing can go on at a splitting
rate when he likes, and he has not spared his words. Gerald, being the
party interested, does not like it. That's what they were having a row
over, when you came up."
"Gerald has no more right to be put over Tom Channing's head, than you
have to be put over Pye's," said Roland, angrily.
"Of course he has not," replied Gaunt. "But things don't go by
'rights,' you know. This business of Arthur Channing's has been quite a
windfall for Gerald; he makes it into an additional reason why Tom, at
any rate, should not have the seniorship. And there only remains
"He does, does he!" exclaimed Roland. "If the dean-"
Roland's voice--it had not been a soft one--died away. The dean himself
appeared suddenly at the door of the chapter-house, which they were
then passing. Roland raised his hat, and Gaunt touched his trencher.
The dean accosted the latter, his tone and manner less serene than
"What is the cause of this unusual noise, Gaunt? It has disturbed me in
my reading. If the cloisters are to be turned into a bear-garden, I
shall certainly order them to be closed to the boys."
"I'll go and stop it at once, sir," replied Gaunt, touching his
trencher again, as he hastily retired. He had no idea that the dean was
in the chapter-house.
Roland, taking no time for consideration--he very rarely did take it,
or any of the Yorkes--burst forth with the grievance to the dean. Not
that Roland was one who cared much about justice or injustice in the
abstract; but he was feeling excessively wroth with Gerald, and in a
humour to espouse Tom Channing's cause against the world.
"The college boys are in a state of semi-rebellion, Mr. Dean, and are
not so quiet under it as they might be. They would like to bring their
cause of complaint to you; but they don't dare."
"Indeed!" said the dean.
"The senior boy leaves the school at Michaelmas," went on Roland,
scarcely giving the dean time to say the word. "The one who stands
first to step into his place is Tom Channing; the next is Huntley; the
last is Gerald Yorke. There is a belief afloat that Mr. Pye means to
pass over the two first, without reference to their merits or their
rights, and to bestow it upon Gerald Yorke. The rumour is, that he has
promised this to my mother, Lady Augusta. Ought this to be so, Mr.
Dean?--although my asking it may seem to be opposed to Lady Augusta's
wishes and my brother's interests."
"Where have you heard this?" inquired the dean.
"Oh, the whole town is talking of it, sir. Of course, that does not
prove its truth; but the college boys believe it. They think," said
Roland, pointedly, "that the dean ought to ascertain its grounds of
foundation, and to interfere. Tom Channing is bearing the brunt of this
false accusation on his brother, which some of the cowards are casting
to him. It would be too bad were Pye to deprive him of the seniorship!"
"You think the accusation on Arthur Channing to be a false one?"
returned the dean.
"There never was a more false accusation brought in this world,"
replied Roland, relapsing into excitement. "I would answer for Arthur
Channing with my own life. He is entirely innocent. Good afternoon, Mr.
Dean. If I stop longer, I may say more than's polite; there's no
telling. Things that I have heard this afternoon have put my temper
He strode away towards the west door, leaving the dean looking after
him with a smile. The dean had been on terms of friendship with Dr.
Yorke, and was intimate with his family. Roland's words were a somewhat
singular corroboration of Arthur Channing's private defence to the dean
only an hour ago.
Meanwhile Gaunt had gone up to scatter the noisy crew. "A nice row you
have got me into with your quarrelling," he exclaimed. "The dean has
been in the chapter-house all the time, and isn't he in a passion! He
threatens to shut up the cloisters."
The announcement brought stillness, chagrin. "What a bothering old
duffer he is, that dean!" uttered Bywater. "He is always turning up
when he's not wanted."
"Take your books, and disperse in silence," was the command of the
"Stop a bit," said Bywater, turning himself round and about for general
inspection. "Look at me! Can I go home?"
"My!" roared the boys, who had been too preoccupied to be observant.
"Haven't they come to grief!"
"But can I go through the streets?"
"Oh yes! Make a rush for it. Tell the folks you have been in the wars."
I like to see fair skies and sunshine on the morning fixed for a
journey. It seems to whisper a promise that satisfaction from that
journey lies before it: a foolish notion, no doubt, but a pleasant one.
Never did a more lovely morning arise to gladden the world, than that
fixed upon for Mr. and Mrs. Channing's departure. The August sky was
without a cloud, the early dew glittered in the sunbeams, bees and
butterflies sported amidst the opening flowers.
Mr. Channing was up early, and had gathered his children around him.
Tom and Charles had, by permission, holiday that morning from early
school, and Constance had not gone to Lady Augusta Yorke's. The very
excitement and bustle of preparation had appeared to benefit Mr.
Channing; perhaps it was the influence of the hope which had seated
itself in his heart, and was at work there. But Mr. Channing did not
count upon this hope one whit more than he could help; for
disappointment _might_ be its ending. In this, the hour of parting from
his home and his children, the hope seemed to have buried itself five
fathoms deep, if not to have died away completely. Who, in a similar
position to Mr. Channing's, has not felt this depression on leaving a
The parting had been less sad but for the dark cloud hanging over
Arthur. Mr. Channing had no resource but to believe him guilty, and his
manner to him had grown cold and stern. It was a pleasing sight--could
you have looked in upon it that morning--one that would put you in mind
of that happier world where partings are not.
For it was to that world that Mr. Channing had been carrying the
thoughts of his children in these, the last moments. The Bible was
before him, but all that he had chosen to read was a short psalm. And
then he prayed God to bless them; to keep them from evil; to be their
all-powerful protector. There was not a dry eye present; and Charles
and Annabel--Annabel with all her wildness--sobbed aloud.
He was standing up now, supported by Hamish, his left hand leaning
heavily, also for support, on the shoulder of Tom. Oh! Arthur felt it
keenly! felt it as if his heart would break. It was Tom whom his father
had especially called to his aid; _he_ was passed over. It was hard to
He was giving a word of advice, of charge to all. "Constance, my pretty
one, the household is in your charge; you must take care of your
brothers' comforts. And, Hamish, my son, I leave Constance to _your_
care. Tom, let me enjoin you to keep your temper within bounds,
particularly with regard to that unsatisfactory matter, the seniorship.
Annabel, be obedient to your sister, and give her no care. And Charley,
my little darling, be loving and gentle as you always are. Upon my
return--if I shall be spared to return--"
"Father," exclaimed Arthur, in a burst of irrepressible feeling, "have
you no word for _me_?"
Mr. Channing laid his hand upon the head of Arthur. "Bless, oh bless
this my son!" he softly murmured. "And may God forgive him, if he be
indeed the erring one we fear!"
But a few minutes had elapsed since Mr. Channing had repeated aloud the
petition in the prayer taught us by our Saviour--"Lead us not into
temptation!" It had come quickly to one of his hearers. If ever
temptation assailed a heart, it assailed Arthur's then. "Not I, father;
it is Hamish who is guilty; it is for him I have to bear. Hamish, whom
you are caressing, was the true culprit; I, whom you despise, am
innocent." Words such as these might have hovered on Arthur's lips; he
had nearly spoken them, but for the strangely imploring look cast to
him from the tearful eyes of Constance, who read his struggle. Arthur
remembered One who had endured temptation far greater than this; Who is
ever ready to grant the same strength to those who need it. A few
moments, and the struggle and temptation passed, and he had not yielded
"Children, I do not like these partings. They always sadden my heart.
They make me long for that life where partings shall be no more. Oh, my
dear ones, do you all strive on to attain to that blessed life! Think
what would be our woeful grief--if such can assail us there; if memory
of the past may be allowed us--should we find any one of our dear ones
absent--of you who now stand around me! I speak to you all--not more to
one than to another--absent through his own fault, his own sin, his own
carelessness! Oh, children! you cannot tell my love for you--my anxious
care!--lest any of you should lose this inconceivable blessing. Work
on; strive on; and if we never meet again here--"
"Oh, papa, papa," wildly sobbed Annabel, "we shall meet again! You will
come back well."
"I trust we shall! I do trust I may! God is ever merciful and good. All
I would say is, that my life is uncertain; that, if it be His will not
to spare me, I shall have but preceded you to that better land. My
blessing be upon you, my children! God's blessing be upon you! Fare you
In the bustle of getting Mr. Channing to the fly, Arthur was left alone
with his mother. She clung to him, sobbing much. Even her faith in him
was shaken. When the rupture occurred between Mr. Yorke and Constance,
Arthur never spoke up to say: "There is no cause for parting; I am not
guilty." Mrs. Channing was not the only one who had expected him to say
this, or something equivalent to it; and she found her expectation
vain. Arthur had maintained a studied silence; of course it could only
tell against him.
"Mother! my darling mother! I would ask you to trust me still, but that
I see how difficult it is for you!" he said, as hot tears were wrung
from his aching heart.
Hamish came in. Arthur, not caring to exhibit his emotion for every
one's benefit, retired to a distant window. "My father is in, all
comfortable," said Hamish. "Mother, are you sure you have everything?"
"Everything, I believe."
"Well--put this into your private purse, mother mine. You'll find some
use for it."
It was a ten-pound note. Mrs. Channing began protesting that she should
have enough without it.
"Mrs. Channing, I know your 'enoughs,'" laughed Hamish, in his very
gayest and lightest tone. "You'll be for going without dinner every
other day, fearing that funds won't last. If you don't take it, I shall
send it after you to-morrow."
"Thank you, my dear, considerate boy!" she gratefully said, as she put
up the money, which would, in truth, prove useful. "But how have you
been able to get it for me?"
"As if a man could not save up his odd sixpences for a rainy day!"
She implicitly believed him. She had absolute faith in her darling
Hamish; and the story of his embarrassments had not reached her ear.
Arthur heard all from his distant window. "For that very money, given
to my mother as a gift from _him_, I must suffer," was the rebellious
thought that ran through his mind.
The fly started. Mr. and Mrs. Channing and Charley inside, Hamish on
the box with the driver. Tom galloped to the station on foot. Of course
the boys were eager to see them off. But Arthur, in his refined
sensitiveness, would not put himself forward to make one of them; and
no one asked him to do so.
The train was on the point of starting. Mr. and Mrs. Channing were in
their places, certain arrangements having been made for the convenience
of Mr. Channing, who was partially lying across from one seat to the
other; Hamish and the others were standing round for a last word; when
there came one, fighting his way through the platform bustle, pushing
porters and any one else who impeded his progress to the rightabout. It
was Roland Yorke.
"Haven't I come up at a splitting pace! I overslept myself, Mr.
Channing, and I thought I should not be in time to give you a
God-speed. I hope you'll have a pleasant time, and come back cured, sir!"
"Thank you, Roland. These heartfelt wishes from you all are very
"I say, Mr. Channing," continued Roland, leaning over the carriage
window, in utter disregard of danger: "If you should hear of any good
place abroad, that you think I might do for, I wish you'd speak a word
"Place abroad?" repeated Mr. Channing, while Hamish burst into a laugh.
"Yes," said Roland. "My brother George knew a fellow who went over to
Austria or Prussia, or some of those places, and dropped into a very
good thing there, quite by accident. It was connected with one of the
embassies, I think; five or six hundred a year, and little to do."
Mr. Channing smiled. "Such windfalls are rare. I fear I am not likely
to hear of anything of the sort. But what has Mr. Galloway done to you,
Roland? You are a fixture with him."
"I am tired of Galloway's," frankly confessed Roland. "I didn't enjoy
myself there before Arthur left, but I am ready to hang myself since,
with no one to speak to but that calf of a Jenkins! If Galloway will
take on Arthur again, and do him honour, I'll stop and make the best of
it; but, if he won't--"
"Back! back! hands off there! Are you mad?" And amidst much shouting,
and running, and dragging careless Roland out of danger, the train
steamed out of the station.
A powerful steamer was cutting smoothly through the waters. A large
expanse of sea lay around, dotted with its fishing-boats, which had
come out with the night's tide. A magnificent vessel, her spars
glittering in the rising sun, might be observed in the distance, and
the grey, misty sky, overhead, gave promise of a hot and lovely day.
Some of the passengers lay on deck, where they had stationed themselves
the previous night, preferring its open air to the closeness of the
cabins, in the event of rough weather. Rough weather they need not have
feared. The passage had been perfectly calm; the sea smooth as a lake;
not a breath of wind had helped the good ship on her course; steam had
to do its full work. But for this dead calm, the fishing-craft would
not be close in-shore, looking very much like a flock of sea-gulls. Had
a breeze, ever so gentle, sprung up, they would have put out to more
A noise, a shout, a greeting! and some of the passengers, already
awake, but lying lazily, sprang up to see what caused it. It was a
passing steamer, bound for the great metropolis which they had left not
seventeen hours ago. The respective captains exchanged salutes from
their places aloft, and the fine vessels flew past each other.
"_Bon voyage! bon voyage!_" shouted out a little French boy to the
"We have had a fine passage, captain," observed a gentleman who was
stretching himself and stamping about the deck, after his night's
repose on the hard bench.
"Middling," responded the captain, to whom a dead calm was not quite so
agreeable as it was to his passengers. "Should ha' been in all the
sooner for a breeze."
"How long will it be, now?"
"A good time yet. Can't go along as if we had wind at our back."
The steamer made good progress, however, in spite of the faithless
wind. It glided up the Scheldt, and, by-and-by, the spire of Antwerp
Cathedral was discerned, rising against the clear sky. Mrs. Channing,
who had been one of those early astir, went back to her husband. He was
lying where he had been placed when the vessel left St. Katherine's
"We shall soon be in, James. I wish you could see that beautiful spire.
I have been searching for it ever so long; it is in sight, now. Hamish
told me to keep a look-out for it."
"Did he?" replied Mr. Channing. "How did Hamish know it might be seen?"
"From the guide-books, I suppose; or from hearsay. Hamish seems to know
everything. What a good passage we have had!"
"Ay," said Mr. Channing. "What I should have done in a rough sea, I
cannot tell. The dread of it has been pressing on me as a nightmare
since our voyage was decided upon."
Mrs. Channing smiled. "Troubles seldom come from the quarter we
Later, when Mrs. Channing was once more leaning over the side of the
vessel, a man came up and put a card into her hand, jabbering away in
German at the same time. The Custom House officers had come on board
"Oh, dear, if Constance were only here! It is for interpreting that we
shall miss her," thought Mrs. Channing. "I am sorry that I do not
understand you," she said, turning to the man.
"Madame want an hot-el? That hot-el a good one," tapping the card with
his finger, and dexterously turning the reverse side upward, where was
set forth in English the advantages of a certain Antwerp inn.
"Thank you, but we make no stay at Antwerp; we go straight on at once."
And she would have handed back the card.
No, he would not receive it. "Madame might be wanting an hot-el at
another time; on her return, it might be. If so, would she patronize
it? it was a good hot-el; perfect!"
Mrs. Channing slipped the card into her reticule, and searched her
directions to see what hotel Hamish had indicated, should they require
one at Antwerp. She found it to be the Hotel du Parc. Hamish certainly
had contrived to acquire for them a great fund of information; and, as
it turned out, information to be relied on.
Breakfast was to be obtained on board the steamer, and they availed
themselves of it, as did a few of the other passengers. Some delay
occurred in bringing the steamer to the side, after they arrived.
Whether from that cause, or the captain's grievance--want of wind--or
from both, they were in later than they ought to have been. When the
first passenger put his foot on land, they had been out twenty hours.
Mr. Channing was the last to be removed, as, with him, aid was
required. Mrs. Channing stood on the shore at the head of the ladder,
looking down anxiously, lest in any way harm should come to him, when
she found a hand laid upon her shoulder, and a familiar voice saluted
"Mrs. Channing! Who would have thought of seeing you here! Have you
dropped from the moon?"
Not only was the voice familiar, but the face also. In the surprise of
being so addressed, in the confusion around her, Mrs. Channing
positively did not for a moment recognize it; all she saw was, that it
was a _home_ face. "Mr. Huntley!" she exclaimed, when she had gathered
her senses; and, in the rush of pleasure of meeting him, of not feeling
utterly alone in that strange land, she put both her hands into his. "I
may return your question by asking where you have dropped from. I
thought you were in the south of France."
"So I was," he answered, "until a few days ago, when business brought
me to Antwerp. A gentleman is living here whom I wished to see. Take
care, my men!" he continued to the English sailors, who were carrying
up Mr. Channing. "Mind your footing." But the ascent was accomplished
in safety, and Mr. Channing was placed in a carriage.
"Do you understand their lingo?" Mr. Huntley asked, as the porters
talked and chattered around.
"Not a syllable," she answered. "I can manage a little French, but this
is as a sealed book to me. Is it German or Flemish?"
"Flemish, I conclude," he said laughingly; "but my ears will not tell
me, any more than yours tell you. I should have done well to bring
Ellen with me. She said, in her saucy way, 'Papa, when you are among
the French and Germans, you will be wishing for me to interpret for
"As I have been wishing for Constance," replied Mrs. Channing. "In our
young days, it was not thought more essential to learn German than it
was to learn Hindustanee. French was only partially taught."
"Quite true," said Mr. Huntley. "I managed to rub through France after
a fashion, but I don't know what the natives thought of my French. What
I did know, I have half forgotten. But, now for explanations. Of
course, Mr. Channing has come to try the effect of the German springs?"
"Yes, and we have such hopes!" she answered. "There does appear to be a
probability that not only relief, but a cure, may be effected;
otherwise, you may be sure we should not have ventured on so much
"I always said Mr. Channing ought to try them."
"Very true; you did so. We were only waiting, you know, for the
termination of the chancery suit. It is terminated, Mr. Huntley; and
Mr. Huntley had been abroad since June, travelling in different parts
of the Continent; but he had heard from home regularly, chiefly from
his daughter, and this loss of the suit was duly communicated with
"Never mind," said he to Mrs. Channing. "Better luck next time."
He was of a remarkably pleasant disposition, in temperament not unlike
Hamish Channing. A man of keen intellect was Mr. Huntley; his fine face
expressing it. The luggage collected, they rejoined Mr. Channing.
"I have scarcely said a word to you," cried Mr. Huntley, taking his
hand. "But I am better pleased to see you here, than I should be to see
any one else living. It is the first step towards a cure. Where are you
"For Borcette. It is--"
"I know it," interrupted Mr. Huntley. "I was at it a year or two ago.
One of the little Brunnens, near Aix-la-Chapelle. I stayed a whole week
there. I have a great mind to accompany you thither, now, and settle
"Oh, do!" exclaimed Mr. Channing, his face lighting up, as the faces of
invalids will light up at the anticipated companionship of a friend.
"If you can spare time, do come with us!"
"My time is my own; the business that brought me here is concluded, and
I was thinking of leaving to-day. Having nothing to do after my early
breakfast, I strolled down to watch in the London steamer, little
thinking I should see you arrive by it. That's settled, then. I will
accompany you as far as Borcette, and see you installed."
"When do you return home?"
"Now; and glad enough I shall be to get there. Travelling is delightful
for a change, but when you have had enough of it, home peeps out in the
distance with all its charms."
The train which Mr. and Mrs. Channing had intended to take was already
gone, through delay in the steamer's reaching Antwerp, and they had to
wait for another. When it started, it had them safely in it, Mr.
Huntley with them. Their route lay through part of the Netherlands,
through Malines, and some beautiful valleys; so beautiful that it is
worth going the whole distance from England to see them.
"What is this disturbance about the seniorship, and Lady Augusta
Yorke?" asked Mr. Huntley, as it suddenly occurred to his recollection,
in the earlier part of their journey. "Master Harry has written me a
letter full of notes of exclamation and indignation, saying I 'ought to
come home and see about it.' What is it?"
Mr. Channing explained; at least, as far as he was able to do so. "It
has given rise to a good deal of dissatisfaction in the school," he
added, "but I cannot think, for my own part, that it can have any
foundation. Mr. Pye would not be likely to give a promise of the kind,
either to Lady Augusta, or to any other of the boys' friends."
"If he attempted to give one to me, I should throw it back to him with
a word of a sort," hastily rejoined Mr. Huntley, in a warm tone.
"Nothing can possibly be more unjust, than to elevate one boy over
another undeservedly; nothing, in my opinion, can be more pernicious.
It is enough to render the boy himself unjust through life; to give him
loose ideas of right and wrong. Have you not inquired into it?"
"No," replied Mr. Channing.
"I shall. If I find reason to suspect there may be truth in the report,
I shall certainly inquire into it. Underhand work of that sort goes,
with me, against the grain. I can stir in it with a better grace than
you can," Mr. Huntley added: "my son being pretty sure not to succeed
to the seniorship, so long as yours is above him to take it. Tom
Channing will make a good senior; a better than Harry would. Harry, in
his easy indifference, would suffer the school to lapse into
insubordination; Tom will keep a tight hand over it."
A sensation of pain darted across the heart of Mr. Channing. Only the
day before his leaving home, he had accidentally heard a few words
spoken between Tom and Charley, which had told him that Tom's chance of
the seniorship was emperilled through the business connected with
Arthur. Mr. Charming had then questioned Tom, and found that it was so.
He must speak of this now to Mr. Huntley, however painful it might be
to himself to do so. It were more manly to meet it openly than to bury
it in silence, and let Mr. Huntley hear of it (if he had not heard of
it already) as soon as he reached Helstonleigh.
"Have you heard anything in particular about Arthur lately?" inquired
"Of course I have," was the answer. "Ellen did not fail to give me a
full account of it. I congratulate you on possessing such sons."